i went to the cloisters (http://www.metmuseum.org/events/ev_cloisters.asp?HomePageLink=collections_cloisters_l) in early sept. of 2001 - a few days before sept. 11 as it turned out. the cloisters is a museum, part of the met, and it is like a medieval monastery. it was a beautiful day, sunny and warm but not outrageously hot like nyc gets in summer. i was standing in a herb garden and the pamphlet i read said that this garden was typical of a medival monastic herb garden. i thought, what a wonderful way to live. i would like to live this way. then a thought came into my head that was from beyond myself. the thought said, "you could live this way. you could become a nun." to which i responded, "NO WAY!!!! that's not what i want. what about that wedding i've been planning for the last 32 years?! i was going to be queen for a day and get married and have kids! i want to marry a pediatrician/veterinarian and live in a townhouse on the upper west side. i don't want to become a nun!"
except i knew that i really did want to do that, i just hadn't realized it before god popped that thought into my head, like a pop-up video. i've heard god call me to stuff before and it usually sounds like, "hey, whaddya think of trying this out?" that's what the nun call was like. not a deep voice from a mountain-top saying, "THOU SHALT NOW BECOME A NONNE!" i had the freedom to say no for ever and ever. i said no, well, maybe. give me time to think about it.
i have spent the last four years since then talking to and listening to god (mostly talking). i've been slowly coming round to the idea of being a religious and god has given me all the time and space i want. once, when i was in a yoga class i heard god say, "you know, it's really you who wants to be a nun." i knew it to be true but i still said, no i don't, you're wrong. thank god for god. she is very patient.
now i'm getting ready to go the the order of the holy paraclete (www.ohpwhitby.org) for a week's visit to see if that's the place for me and vice versa. i'd really like to work in africa with aids orphans. we'll see.